quince and apple tart

i have an abundance of apples and quinces at the moment, both passed on by kindly people who have too much fruit to use and know that i never say no to free food!

a lot of the apples will just get cooked down with a bit of water and then used in smoothies or as a fruit compote at breakfast time. however, i wanted to pair the two fruits in some way. last time i made a crumble – the quince lightens things up and adds an almost floral hint to the flavour, as though you had added rosewater – and this time i settled on nigel slater’s apple and quince tart.

i didn’t read the recipe through before i started so let me warn you in advance – there are lots of separate elements and therefore it is not particularly quick to knock up. each component is easy to make though and the result makes all the effort worthwhile. it looks beautiful as it comes out of the oven – all puffed up and golden. ice cream or cream is the perfect accompaniment.

nigel slater’s quince and apple tart (serves 8)

1 lemon

500g quinces

750g sweet apples

2 tablespoons of caster sugar

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

for the crust:

100g butter, at room temperature

80g sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

200g plain flour

for the top:

150g plain flour

75g butter

75g demerara sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

you will need a 22cm tart tin with a removable base

to make the filling: squeeze the lemon into a mixing bowl. peel, core and chop the quinces into small pieces, tossing them in the lemon juice as you go to stop them browning.

place the chopped fruits in a deep pan, add the sugar and maple syrup, cover with a lid and leave over a low heat for 15 minutes (mine cooked much quicker than this, so keep an eye on them) until tender enough for you to easily insert a metal skewer into them. check regularly and lower the heat if necessary, particularly towards the end of cooking when the syrup has reduced.

meanwhile core and dice the apples; there is no need to peel them (i peeled mine). stir them into the quinces as soon as the quinces are almost tender. continue cooking, covered with a lid, for 5-10 minutes or until the apples are just soft. set aside.

make the pastry crust: dice the butter and put into the bowl of a food mixer or processor with the sugar. cream till light and fluffy, then add the egg, mix thoroughly then spoon in the flour. bring the dough into a ball – it will be quite soft – then place on a generously floured work surface or board. knead briefly, it will make it easier to work. roll out the dough to fit the tart tin, pushing it carefully into the corners and up the sides, patching any tears as you go. refrigerate for 20 minutes.

put a baking sheet in the oven and set at 200c/gas mark 6.

make the topping: put the flour and butter into the processor and blitz till they resemble fine breadcrumbs. or rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. add the sugar and the egg and mix briefly to a moist, crumbly texture.

fill the uncooked tart case with the apple and quince mixture, setting aside any juice (i didn’t have any), then scatter over the crumble topping. some of the fruit will show through. lift on to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes till the crust and pastry are crisp and golden. allow to settle a little before serving with a trickle of the reserved juices.